INTERVIEW WITH AKIRA ARMSTRONG CEO OF PRETTY BIG MOVEMENT
Being a plus sized lady myself my attention is always grabbed by any kind of open body positivity which is why I was drawn to writing for VOLUP2. I have also seen your Pretty Big Movement video’s on Facebook and other social media, your ethos is amazing. I love the idea of a no judgement environment for plus size ladies to dance.
I love the sense of empowerment dancing brings me, what was your inspiration to start a plus size dance troop?
The thing that inspired me to start a plus size company was the mere fact that there was not a platform for plus size women professional dancers to express their true talent. As a young woman I have always struggled with my weight and overlooked on booking gigs in the entertainment industry because of my size. Therefore, I set out to create my own lane and to pave the way for other fill figured curvy dancers as well.
Would you ever bring out a plus size active ware range based on the cute outfits I have seen the dancers wearing on your website, for all curvy ladies to dance and work out while looking amazing like yourself and your fellow dancers?
I would love to bring out my very own plus size dance active wear. I think it is essential for plus size women to feel sexy even in workout attire. The gear would definitely compliment what you see on my fellow members on my website.
Pretty Big Movement are very well known as part of the body positive movement, are there any thoughts about expanding to other areas, like the UK?
It is my goal to expand my Pretty BIG Movement in the UK if the opportunity presents itself. I am actually working on brand extension in other area in the local tri-state area. My overall goal is to spread Pretty BIG Movement globally. If given the chance to bring PBM to come and spread the love in the UK I would be on the next flight smoking.
What was it like to work with some other amazing women like Jazmine Sullivan, Jennifer Hudson and Beyoncé?
Working with Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, and Jasmin Sullivan was truly a humbling and amazing experience. They are beautiful and talented in their own right. All three of them exude confidence, women empowerment, and sex appeal.
Are you ever nervous performing at such prestigious events like Female Hip Hop Hour Awards and performances for Black Lives Matter?
Honestly, I am always nervous every time I perform but once I step foot on the stage, my nervousness goes right out the window.
When you first started the move your curves workshop did you ever dream it would gain so much popularity?
When I first began my Move your Curves Workshop I started it with the intent to bring awareness to my brand and to instill confidence not just in plus size women but in all women. I did not expect for it to gain so much popularity because my goal is to inspire not to gain numbers. I want to remind women that they are beautiful inside and out.
How have you managed to fit starting your own movement and dance business around being a professional dancer yourself as well as your achievements through studying and choreography credentials?
I've managed to maintain my movement and dance career by prayer. I'm very spiritual and believe that the power of prayer allows me to have balance.
I saw the advertisement for Full Beauty that Pretty Big Movement were a part of, does this mean a clothing collaboration is in the pipeline?
Working with Full Beauty was a great experience. I am always open to work with other plus size brands to collaborate to grow Pretty BIG on a higher level. There is nothing in the works at the moment. Who knows what the future may hold.
As well as the open auditions and the workshops are there any classes for none professional plus size dancers to join the fun?
The workshops and audition are openfor non dancers to come and express their inner dancer.
Did you ever think that being body positive and encouraging other women to do so would bring you such recognition as a feminist?
I never thought being positive and encouraging other women to do so would bring such recognition as a feminist only because you never how people will perceive you. My intent, is to empower, inspire, and aspire women to be GREAT. As a women we are taught to be strong and confident but we are only human. We breakdown at times. However, Pretty BIG Movement is an outlet created to remind women it's okay to be your true self.
KELLY is both a mother and fiancée, and keeps her own blog at mummybuiz.simplesite.com. She is passionate about the body positive moment, is currently planning her wedding, and spends her free time baking and testing recipes for her family.